We’ve been in Cyprus since 2019. After deciding as an organisation to focus on short-term, essential support, we reopened the Dignity Centre in September 2021 with a targeted range of services.
Cyprus has the highest number of asylum seekers per capita in all of Europe, and our role there is critical in supporting new arrivals to get on their feet and start rebuilding their lives.
Our Dignity Centre in the heart of the capital, Nicosia, currently serves 300 members each week. We provide food and hygiene items, and offer solidarity and a sense of normality to people who leave the First Reception Centre, also known as Pounara Camp, and are in greatest need.
We offer a Welcome Pack, which includes access to our services for five weeks after leaving the new arrival refugee camp. This covers the time period when new arrivals need the greatest support to access state support and find employment.
What’s in a Welcome Pack?
1. A weekly ‘free shop’ at the Dignity Market
Each member can shop for the equivalent of €8.40’s worth of food and hygiene items, which is a crucial supplement to their daily needs. What’s more, because we source products locally and in bulk, this amount of ‘money’ goes further than it would in a normal shop.
We distribute food via our Dignity Market because it’s dignified, offers choice and creates a small sense of normality. The food is essential—but what we are really doing is feeding spirits by providing agency and solidarity.
2. Getting employment
For new arrivals in Cypus, bureaucracy can be confusing and slow-moving. We help people to register with the government for work and access to benefits. We also help them to create a CV so they can look for work.
It’s important to look smart, and this helps enormously with self-esteem. Every Friday, three of our members provide a barbering service for 12-15 people.
Ongoing Support and Solidarity
All former and current members are invited to be part of our WhatsApp group, where we regularly share important information like changes in the law, job opportunities and other support services.
We need you
We need volunteers to continue serving refugees and asylum seekers in Nicosia. It is deeply rewarding work. Find out more and apply to volunteer.